Infact, I had nothing left to myself. Everything that was mine or could have been; were was lost. Like blown away with the wind. I could only sit and hold myself tightly, so I remain firm.
Come to think of it; I was left out completely on my own. With nothing. I had lost it all. Everything had vanished.. was left far away. As if blown away in a dust storm. Everything lay scattered covered in sand. Just when I would reach near that dust covered object, I would realize that it was only a mirage. In reality, nothing was.
It was important for me to keep myself intact. I had chosen to stay with that Blotch so all would think I was married. I had not known how to hunt for a house. I had not known of anything. How could I have? Perhaps, all women should be taught to fight out on her own the first thing in her primary classes. That way, she won’t become vulnerable ever.
The plants that mom had brought from Kolkata were also left back. That small terrace garden was my mom’s paradise. Even if Shipra had let me take that, I wouldn’t have been able to. I had passed my 1st year of Textile Designing with Merit points. I had become my Campus Teachers’ fave once again; like I used to be in GFPS.
I had wanted to complete my TD and apply for an advanced course. I had wanted to run a Designing Shop. Making dresses with very different patters. I bet- such ones are not available in the market yet. Very unusual and unique. They may be available abroad or may be in a few fashion houses; I had wanted to “risk and adapt those styles” for day-to-day designing. God willing, I may be able to do that someday. Soon.
All my wishes and desires had come to a stand- still point. Nothing at all was visible- much less clearly. I was stuck up with practically not much money. The fees took the most of it. The practical requirements, sheets and colors left me with absolutely nothing. I had pre- calculated all of that.
While he was busy satiating his desires, my mind was running elsewhere.
I was on the brink of my patience.. closing my mind completely. Thinking of what was happening to me would have made me throw up. Thinking of that still brings a distaste in my mouth. It raises a sense of dyspathy for my own self.
I couldn’t stay in touch with anyone. I couldn’t tell Ruby a word about it. I was into something that I couldn’t approve of; how could I have discussed anything about that? I had used it as a strategy to stay with one Demon and save myself from the entire bunch of those.
The next morning, I had dressed up in a salwar suit. I didn’t ever wear one to my college- excepting for a picnic day, at the end of the 1st year term. I had also put an imitation Mangalsutra around my neck..!! For all neighbors to see that I was probably “married”. I was not- even committed.. My cousin had given me a couple of suits. She had worn them enough and had discarded those. It was a lavender color suit with pink embroidery on the front. My teachers and my class- mates were all so surprised; so was I. Upon my ownself.
In the next two days time, the Blotch had looked for another place. The following weekend, I had shifted again. The place was known as Gharoli. It was a village. “Luckily”, I was to shift at the ex- mukhiya’s house of that village. I had stayed at his house for roughly about 2 years.
I feel it was destined. To have stayed with people so caring. They had been equally friendly and supportive. They had as if compensated for my loss of shelter. That’s right. More than just a rented room, it had been my shelter. The owners had acted like my guardian.
Even though the place was a village, it didn’t seem so. My house was right on the main linking road. That fact may have been the reason. I was strictly advised to never venture inside the “village” alone at all. It was a huge plot of more than 100sq yard. My room was adjacent to the two big halls, right at the centre of the plot. Those halls was a connected passage to both sides. A television was sat in the backside room. The front-side connecting hall was Babaji’s bedroom.
That’s what he was addressed as. He was a retired service- man. He used to go to Mehrauli for his work. He was well versed with the worldly culture i.e., Only one time he had wanted to know if I didn’t feel “awkward” wearing what I wore.. Girls out there never wore skirts or jeans. They were only brought up to become a helping hand. Girls weren’t sent to school after the Primary education- if at all.
It was a typical rural India setup that I had stayed in. Native residents were agriculturists. Married women covered their face (and not head alone); as if they had committed a heinous crime by getting married. No matter what their age be, once married, she was addressed as auntie by even 17 year olds..!! Men loitered around the whole day doing absolutely nothing. They had farms to support their financial expenditures.
Electricity was “stolen” by putting a connecting wire from the street light poles’ wire. Low voltage was a common phenomenon. Water was only through hand- pumps. Cooking used to be on tillage stove. The count of Buffaloes, hens and horses within the house plots, reflected upon the social status. The natives were the Gujjars. Elderly women- folk wore a men’s shirt and a salwar. Dupatta used to be typically bright colored with shimmering lace- work.
Kids used to play around in mud. Speak in highly indecipherable crude lingo. They spent their evenings rolling cycle tyres with a stick. Rented rooms were not bigger than 10′ x 6′; and that’s the modest size. People there, stayed crammed up in a matchbox like space. I was also told not to be talking to anyone around.
Good that I had not. They were all illiterate, uneducated with a highly constraint thought process. I used to be limited to the hall section and the front house portion, where Babaji’s younger son and Asha didi stayed. His elder son stayed at the backside alongwith their buffaloes. Asha didi was a graduate..!! May I also say that she was the one who had taken great care that I never slept without eating my meals?
The news of an “immigrant” having reached to stay had traveled across the whole area. People from far away houses had come to see that how a woman (I was only 19 then) wore Jeans and skirts and NOT COVER HER HEAD.
That Babaji had supported my stay there in every possible manner is one things. However, the womenfolk (including ammaji) damned me no end for I not wearing sari, bangles, bindi or paajeb etc. I was a married woman- you see..!!
That loafer had become a hero overnight. That he “having agreed” for me to pursue my study even after “marriage” was nothing short of a Godly act. Bullsh*t. Only; I was taking the sh*t.
After having shifted at a place where no addresses were; I had begun to become.
A victim, a helpless and a warrior.
I was becoming a woman.